This summer, I will be taking my first long haul flight in four years; although I love to travel, I am not a big fan of flying, so try to prepare myself for the hours ahead when there is no where to go and a limited amount of options on activities. In addition, the security screening procedures that are now in place at airports can add more stress to your journey. Consider some of these natural health tips for how to deal with a long flight and hopefully you will arrive a little less frazzled at the other end!
Aromatherapy Blends for Long Haul Flights
As an aromatherapist, I always have to hand an aromatherapy travel kit when traveling. Some aromatherapy blends that are particularly useful for long haul travel include:
- grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi) essential oil – to combat jet lag on long haul flights
- peppermint (Mentha piperita) essential oil – for stimulation to cope with the long journey
- geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) essential oil – to try and set your body clock to local time on arrival.
Simply add the required essential oil/s to a massage oil or white lotion base, or use a portable inhaler. You can also try the Bach Rescue Remedy if you find flying stressful.
Adjusting Your Body Clock
Depending on how far you are traveling, and how many time zones you are crossing on your flight, it might take a few days for your body to get back into its natural rhythm both on arrival at your destination and on the return trip home. Flying east is supposed to more difficult, in terms of adjustment, than flying westwards.
You can try adjusting the time that you go to bed each night, a couple of weeks before you fly; this might involve going to bed either earlier or later than your regular time, depending upon your destination. Adjust the time slowly over a number of weeks to try to “re-set” you body clock for sleep.
In addition, you can try acupuncture or other types of traditional Asian medicine to combat jet lag; acupuncture points help to re-balance the circadian rhythm of the body which becomes unbalanced during long haul flights (source).
Hydrate With Water During the Flight
One of the most important things that you can do during a long haul flight is to make sure that your body doesn’t become dehydrated. The air in the cabin is quick to dry out your skin and your body. Drinking lots of water is paramount to combating dehydration during a long haul flight. Although many people choose to drink coffee and alcohol during a flight, both of these types of beverages will dehydrate your body further.
You can also use a water mister/spritzer to keep your skin from dehydration but make sure that it meets with airline requirements for carrying on board liquid items.
Exercise and Move Around
One of the dangers of a long haul flight is deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a condition in which a blood clot forms in one or more of the deep veins within the body, most commonly within the legs (source). DVT occurs when you have sat for a long length of time and are immobile; it is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition.
Therefore, it is important that you get up and walk around the plane at regular intervals during the flight. In addition, you can do exercises in your seat that involve rotating your ankles and legs; also stretch your arms and neck which can become stiff and sore from being cramped up in a small space for a long length of time.
Make sure that you have plenty of things to occupy yourself with during your long haul flight; although the airline usually provides a movie or two during the flight, you might want to take along that book or magazine/s you’ve been meaning to read. Boredom can add to your stress levels during a flight. In addition, travel light where possible and make sure that you aware of carry-on luggage restrictions in advance so that you don’t have to re-pack half of your luggage at the airport security screening.
Long Haul Flights and Your Health
Long haul flying is not as easy as it used to be (or so it seems) with additional security checks and measures now in place. However, with a bit of advance preparation, you can take care of your health, whether you are traveling for business or pleasure this summer.
Photo by emildom75